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Nail Polish Shelf life: How Long Do They Actually Last?

Last Updated on March 26, 2021
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written by nail expert Jess Rowley

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So how long does your favorite nail polish actually last? Signs when to chuck away your nail polish

Nail polish that will not only compliment your outfit but give you a flawless finish will top any mood, but how long do they last?

Usually, after 2 years they begin to chip every time you use them and stop going on as smoothly as they would when you first purchased it.

Don’t we all have a bottle that’s well past the sell-by date? We know we should chuck it but can’t bear to part with the beautiful color.

It’s something we often forget about, just push it to the back of the cupboard it will be fine. Many people forget that nail polish actually has a shelf life, despite it not being as steep as mascara nail polish, it should still be replaced every two years.

Experts say as soon as the bottle is opened it starts to gradually evaporate over time, causing the polish to thicken and separate.

Not to panic, I’m here to help, lets get into how to preserve your nail polish for longer and when to give it the boot.

red nail polish

How to tell if your nail polish is expired:

It is always good to check your nail polish and know when it’s passed past the point of repair:

The texture is firstly a huge giveaway that your nail polish has gone bad. If your nail polish has gone thick and gloopy and hard to manage then it may be beyond repair.

It becomes very difficult to make an even coat that doesn’t look clumpy on your nails. Over time the ingredients begin to clump making it difficult to remix them.

In some cases, a good ol’ bit of nail polish thinner can be enough to do the job- here’s how to thin your nail polish. 

But is there a way that I can make my nail polish last longer?  

Yes absolutely, it won’t make your nail polish last forever but it will definitely preserve the life of your polish. 

One tip is to keep your all nail polish away from direct sunlight, bright UV lights will not only bleach the color of your nail polish but also damage the ingredients causing them to clump together. 

Make sure you store your nail polish in a cool, dry place and away from places that warm-up easily, like in the bathroom by the shower. This can actually cause your nail polish to deteriorate quicker. 

Always tighten the lid when you’re not using it, the air exposure can cause your nail polish to dry out and evaporate, thickening and separating the nail polish

Always keep the bottle upright as otherwise, it may clump at the tip of the bottle. Wipe the lid with acetone (nail polish remover) to get rid of the clumping at the lid. 

Before looking at how to thin your nail polish guide always remember that prevention is much better than a cure. 

If nothing works then that’s a sign you need to chuck out that nail polish as sadly these colors don’t last forever- as much as we all want it to. 

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